Mama-San and Me – Hill 65

Tuesday, November 26, 1968

After breakfast we checked the turkey stock in the walk-in, and it had gelatinized.  A layer of fat hardened on the surface and was lifted off in pieces.  This would be used in making the roux to thicken the gravy.  The biggest surprise was that the (boiled) turkey meat was flavorful and tender.

We managed to get four turkeys into two ovens before lunch and planned to cook four more after dinner.  Serving 400 Marines at each meal was always a challenge, and to keep things hot and up to temperature required using all five fire units.  We were juggling the cooking of the roast turkeys around each meal.

Fernando showed up in the afternoon with the rest of our Thanksgiving provisions.  The produce was all fresh (potatoes, onions, celery), and there were two cases of frozen peas, REAL butter, canned black olives, hard peppermint candy and mixed Planters Nuts.  The trailer was completely loaded with cases of fruitcake.  Our allotment was two cases, but other units had dropped off their cakes at the dock for unwanted items.  Fernando scarfed it all up thinking fruitcake was a valuable commodity.  It was customary for his family to make fruitcake in El Paso during the holidays.

The one-pound cakes were wrapped in holiday foil, and we had enough to feed a regiment.  Fernando was getting defensive about the teasing he was getting over the cakes, and I reassured him it wasn’t a mistake.

As Mama-San and her daughter were leaving for the day.  I gave each of them a fruitcake.  Her daughter asked, “What it is?”  I smiled and said, “America.”  Their eyes were big with anticipation as they made the 3-mile walk home to Dai Loc.

Next Edition:  Countdown

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